Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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The Best Style?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jahvid Best is a boom-or-bust kind of runner, putting up inconsistent week-to-week production and driving owners up a wall. He’s also the kind of player all fantasy owners should want to own.

That’s because Best is an explosive, difference-making back. As he showed Monday night, he can win you fantasy weeks. And when you have his kind of elusiveness and speed, the kind of massive game he put on the Bears is a weekly threat. Plodders like Shonn Greene, LeGarrette Blount and the current Michael Turner just aren’t capable of it. With Best, we use the strategy of reaching for the highest possible ceiling. That strategy leads to fantasy titles more often than not.

Speaking of ceilings, owners playing matchups should note that Best loves the Ford Field turf. Coming into last night, Best was averaging 3.9 yards per carry at home vs. 2.6 yards per carry on the road. Also, he was at 10.5 yards per catch at home vs. 8.0 yards per catch on the road. After last night’s 12 carries for a career-high 163 yards, that split has spiked even more.

One last thing: Calvin Johnson is now on pace for 92.8 catches, 1443.2 yards and 28.8 touchdowns. Not even the Bears’ Cover-2 that tries to keep everything in front could contain him.    

Earl Bennett isn’t very good, but Dane Sanzenbacher isn’t much better. Three of his six catches last night came in garbage time. Move along. … The Bears’ offensive line is a joke. Jay Cutler is skittish, anticipating the rush. And with good reason. Avoiding their entire passing game is the safe play. … Titus Young is getting more and more chances in two-wide sets. He had four targets last night, the same number as Nate Burleson. … Brandon Pettigrew is essentially the Lions’ short-yardage option on early downs. They throw short gains to him instead of pounding the ball into the line. Nice PPR asset. … Nick Fairley (foot) made his NFL debut as a rotational rusher.

Editor’s Note: For early rankings, projections, the Running Back report, the top-200 going forward list and much more, check out the Season Pass!

Sometimes, NFL coaches actually put their best players on the field. On Monday, the Browns pledged to do so.

Coach Pat Shurmur announced that Greg Little has been promoted to the starting “X” receiver spot, replacing a brutally ineffective Brian Robiskie. Little will move to the slot in three-wide sets. That means that the Browns’ most dangerous offensive player -- yes, more dangerous than Peyton Hillis -- is going to be on the field every snap.

Little’s target count was on the rise anyway as a perfect fit for the Browns’ sleepy West Coast offense. He got three targets in Week 1, five in Weeks 2 and 3 and eight in Week 4. The rookie is a special talent after the catch and a physical specimen. Owners in PPR formats need to take a look.

There was a lot of speculation leading up to Week 5 as to what Aaron Hernandez’s role would be just three weeks removed from an MCL sprain. Some reports had him playing a bit role despite being active. Nope.

Hernandez played 65-of-81 snaps in his first game back and caught five passes. He also dropped an easy touchdown. After the game, the wideout/tight end earned high praise from Bill Belichick for how hard he worked during rehab.

Hernandez is solidly back now as the Patriots’ No. 2 receiver, behind only Wes Welker. He’ll sustain TE1 value all season.

Donald Jones is out 4-6 weeks due to a high-ankle sprain. That moves David Nelson outside and Naaman Roosevelt into the slot. … Chris Johnson (hamstring) is expected to be fine. … LeGarrette Blount (knee) is in serious doubt for Week 6. Yes, pass him. … Ryan Mathews (calf, wrist) is expected to be ready when the Chargers come out of their bye. Mike Tolbert (concussion) should be fine as well. … Joseph Addai’s hamstring strain is going to cost him at least a week. Delone Carter is the add. …  Tarvaris Jackson’s pectoral strain is going to cost him a week of practice at least. … Braylon Edwards (knee) is expected back Week 8. Meanwhile, Josh Morgan (ankle) is out indefinitely. … Miles Austin (hamstring) was back at practice Monday. He’s ready to go.

The Redskins declined to name a starting running back between Ryan Torain and Tim Hightower. … Still no word on Cedric Benson’s possible suspension. It sounds like he is going to stave this thing off even longer. … The Broncos didn’t name a starting quarterback Monday, but we all know who it will be: Tebow Time, baby. … Donovan McNabb played poorly again in Week 5, but the Vikings won. So he keeps his job for now. … Bernard Berrian was benched for missing meetings last week. He figures to rotate with Devin Aromashodu going forward. Yawn. … Derrick Mason was benched in favor of Jeremy Kerley Sunday. …

Editor’s Note: Sick of your team already? Get a new one and win real cash with SnapDraft!

Adding a different defense/special teams each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are units that might be on waivers to consider this week for streaming purposes:

1. STEELERS vs. Jaguars - In the days leading up to Week 5, Pittsburgh’s defense was labeled as old and declining by the national media. That may be true to some degree, but they’ll eat up Blaine Gabbert. Scoop ’em up if they were dropped.  

2. BENGALS vs. Colts - In Week 5, the Bengals scored a defensive touchdown, had two fumble recoveries and recorded three sacks. They get an equally tasty matchup at home this week against the Colts.

3. RAIDERS vs. Browns - I do think the Browns will come out of the bye sporting a more effective offensive scheme. But the Raiders are proving to be playmakers with 14 sacks, three forced fumbles and five interceptions through five games. 

Gregg Rosenthal examines whether Jackie Battle, Jason Avant and Victor Cruz are worth picking up. Check out the video.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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